March 16, 2016

Hi Friends,

I’m about to do something very brave tonight.

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater has asked me to participate as a guest responder in the world premiere of a new play they have commissioned, called “American Song.”

Here is a short blurb about the play:

Ripped from today’s headlines, American Song is a moving and provocative look at parenting in today’s fractured society. As Andy heads off to work to give the biggest presentation of his career, he wishes his seemingly well-adjusted teenage son goodbye. Eight hours later, everything has changed, and Andy’s family is infamous world-wide for an inconceivable act of violence committed by the most unlikely suspect – the sweet boy Andy once cradled in his arms.

And here is the press release:

Tonight, I will be the second of many “guest respondents” during the run of the play (Opening Night this Friday will feature Milwaukee Public School’s Superintendent Darienne Driver!) who share a five-minute response to this moving and provocative look at parenting in today's fractured society.

To be honest, I’m pretty nervous.

Over the weekend, I called my sister for advice on what to say.  As always, she kept it simple. “Nae – think about it from a child’s voice. What are they asking for? What do they need? How can we reach out to them? What conditions do we need for these babies to be successful?”

That’s the beauty of Milwaukee Succeeds, and that’s what I’m going to talk about.

Our work in Goal 4 “Social & Emotional Health: all children and young people are healthy, supported socially and emotionally and contribute responsibly to the success of the Milwaukee Community” helps transform teenagers into well-rounded adults. The challenges the father in the play faces are real, current, and perhaps what many of us face on a daily basis.

I really liked how Chad Bauman, Managing Director of Milwaukee Rep, summarized “American Song” in Milwaukee.

I can’t thank you enough for participating in this grand experiment with us. We know that theater has the power to build bridges amongst disparate communities and to foster civic dialogue. I’m reminded today, perhaps more than ever before, that the act of bringing people together under one roof for a shared experience is in itself an important first step in advancing together toward a greater tomorrow. With this new initiative, hopefully we will take the next step in that journey”

I say the same about our work in Milwaukee Succeeds. We bring folks to the table, where everybody can come and speak as equals.

Whatever you do after you read this, do this first. Hug your loved ones and be thankful you are alive. You just never really know when everything is going to change.

Here is the full list “American Song” respondents:

Let me know what you think!

Social media information for The Rep is below:

And please tag Milwaukee Repertory Theater and use #AmericanSongMKE.

See you soon,


Danae Davis  |  Executive Director
Milwaukee Succeeds
101 W. Pleasant St., Suite 210, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Direct: 414.336.7057



If someone forwarded you this “Hey it’s Danae” message and you would like to receive it directly, please send your email address to Kia Towns. Thanks!


Milwaukee Succeeds is a broad-based, communitywide collaboration that aims to improve educational outcomes for every child in Milwaukee, in every school, cradle to career.
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